Trump's latest attack "demonstrates a lack of a moral compass in the leadership of the United States of America."
A coalition of mayors angrily denounced Donald Trump and his Justice Department after he "threw a bomb" at their annual conference by threatening to subpoena cities over their immigration policies.
Mayors from both parties had been invited as part of the United States Conference of Mayors to attend a White House session to discuss issues including the opioid crisis and infrastructure.
But the Trump administration decided to grandstand and, through Attorney General Jeff Sessions, sent out a press release threatening 23 cities, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
As part of Trump's anti-immigrant portfolio of policies, he wants local law enforcement agencies to act as de facto immigration authorities. The Justice Department accused the cities of "unlawfully restricting information sharing by its law enforcement officers with federal immigration authorities."
Democratic mayors across the country have refused, citing public safety and community over policy ideas largely backed by bigotry and unwarranted fear.
In rejecting Trump's invitation, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu explained, "The Trump administrations decision to threaten mayors and demonize immigrants yet again and use cities as political props in the process has made this meeting untenable."
Landrieu noted the juxtaposition of the White House invite and the scorched-earth release.
"One thing we never do is invite people into a comfortable space, and then go outside and throw a bomb," he said. "We would not invite someone over for lunch, and then excoriate them on the front porch. My mama taught me better than that."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he would not be attending because Trump's "Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesnt make us safer and it violates Americas core values."
Ted Wheeler, mayor of Portland, Oregon, called Trump's behavior "disappointing," noting it "demonstrates a lack of a moral compass in the leadership of the United States of America."
This week I am in Washington DC for the US Conference of Mayors. My Colleagues and I were holding a news conference when word came down about the @TheJusticeDept increased threats to subpoena sanctuary cities. Here's my response: #USCMwinter18 #HereToStay pic.twitter.com/LcfqB163nA
Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) January 24, 2018
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "He didn't want to have a conversation about infrastructure, because we would all see that the emperor has no clothes when it comes to his plan."
At the event, Trump viciously attacked the mayors who rebuked his bigotry. He crudely alleged that "sanctuary cities are the best friend of gangs and cartels, like MS-13" and claimed that "the mayors who choose to boycott this event have put the needs of criminal illegal immigrants over law-abiding Americans."
As is always the case when confronted with his own bigotry, Trump failed to see the light. Instead, he doubled down and reasserted his hateful beliefs.